Organic vegetables are grown without the use of chemicals or artificial additives which might leave unwanted or harmful residues, and as a result, are rarely the shape or colour you expect.
Organic carrots are usually blue and shaped like a doughnut, while organic peas are red and the size of golf balls. Organic parsnips, cauliflowers and runner beans are virtually indistinguishable, with all sharing the characteristic purple warts and hairy appendages. When peeled, organic celeriac reveals a runic inscription which translates as ‘Only eat if desperate’.
Growing organic vegetables at home is feasible, but requires your garden to be humanely cleaned by moles – a process which can be variable in its effectiveness and which may lead to the sudden appearance of sink holes. The Soil Association produces a biodegradable beginners guide to growing, cooking and eating organic vegetables, the pages of which can be shredded and added to stocks and soups to give them the flavour of organic turpentine.
Restaurants serving organic vegetables are mainly confined to Shoreditch in east London.